On August 3, the Government of Japan decided to provide 775 oxygen concentrators to Thailand, and 100 oxygen concentrators, 100 suction pumps and 100 patient monitors to Laos in response to the surge of COVID-19 infections in the two countries (Total amount of grant assistance: approximately 2.52 million US dollars).
In Thailand, the medical system is being overwhelmed especially in the Bangkok metropolitan area. In particular, there is a severe shortage in the number of beds available for COVID-19 patients at the major hospitals in Bangkok, and makeshift hospitals are being rapidly built. Laos, whose medical system is said to be one of the most vulnerable in the ASEAN countries, has implemented strict lockdown to this day in an effort to contain the spread of infection. However, the situation in the prefectures bordering Thailand is particularly serious, and the existing hospitals are unable to admit new patients. Only about 30% of the required number of oxygen concentrators are secured in Laos.
In response to such severe situations, the Government of Japan has decided to provide this grant as part of assistance for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 to Thailand and Laos, with which Japan has a traditional friendship. Japan has already provided a total of about 1 million doses of vaccine to Thailand in July, and today it will dispatch to Laos a total of about 600 thousands doses through COVAX facility. Japan will continue to strongly support both countries’ efforts to alleviate the COVID-19 infections.
[Reference: COVID-19 infections in Thailand and Laos] As of August 2, Thailand reports the cumulative number of positive cases of 615,314 and the cumulative deaths of 4,990. As of August 2, Laos reports the cumulative number of positive cases of 6,765 and the cumulative deaths of 7. During the month of July, the number of infected people increased by about 25 times due to returning workers from neighboring countries, and the medical system in the two local prefectures bordering Thailand (Savannakhet and Champasak) is particularly in dire need of support, so this emergency grant aid targets those two prefectures.